When Mommy Gets Alone Time

You may say I’m a dreamer.

But I know I’m not the only one.

All day long I dream about all the things I could be doing, if only I didn’t have the kids parading around my ankles. If only I could have like 2 hours, maybe 3, I would be so productive. SO productive, you don’t even know.

So all week long, I make a list. I jot down the things I want to do, the things I WILL do, just as soon as I get a few uninterrupted hours to myself.

And when that day comes, there will be no stopping me. I’ll hit that list, and I’ll hit it hard. I’ll finally go through the 7.3 million photos on my phone and upload them to my computer, I’ll prep enough meals to last us a lifetime (or at least until Friday), I’ll fold all the laundry, answer all my emails, bake myself something from scratch, paint my nails AND have enough time for them to dry, and maybe even have time leftover to Netflix and chill. One by one, I’ll check every last thing off that gosh darn to-do list.

Or, at least that’s how my dream goes.

But, here’s the funny thing. As soon as my husband packs up the kids, the van pulls out of the driveway, and the thud of the garage door reverberates off the walls of the empty house that is suddenly mine, and mine alone, a wave of weirdness washes over me. It seems my legs have been glued to the couch. I find myself stuck exactly where my family left me. The motivation I anticipated being bombarded with has suddenly gone missing. I know there were things I was supposed to be doing, but I feel an undeniable urge to stay exactly where I am, and to not move for as long as humanly possible. I try desperately to break free from the weirdness, but can’t. So, I feverishly pull out my phone, scanning my notes for that to-do list. Maybe that will snap me out of my funk. But mid-scroll, a Facebook notification pops down, hovering ominously over my homescreen. Unable to resist the urge, I tap it. It’s just 1 of 27 new notifications from the 16 mom groups I’m in. But this post? This post can’t be ignored. It was shared just 3 minutes ago and already has an impressive 571 comments, all because the poor soul who thought Facebook would be a safe place to “rant” made the fatal error of posting what she thought was a cute picture of her kid sitting on her dog, “for attention.” I’m not even sure what her rant was about, because I’m too busy reading all of the enraged comments about the horrific “animal abuse” portrayed in her photo. The outrage is palpable, and if ever a woman could physically reach out and punch another in the boob through the internet, this was that time. So, of course, I read the 571 comments. Yes, every single one of them. I just can’t pull myself away from the heated battle of this mommy war.

38 minutes later, I look up from my phone. I can’t remember why in the world I had started looking at it in the first place. And while pondering how I can ever get those 38 minutes back, I suddenly feel the wine I have been mindlessly sipping while spiraling into the cyber abyss nipping at my bladder. I tear my legs free from the couch long enough to trudge to the bathroom.

I stay in there for exactly 24 minutes, because WHEN did I grow a unibrow, and HOW LONG have I been parading around Target convincing people that the woolly mammoth is NOT in fact, extinct? After spending 23 of those 24 minutes doing damage control and rediscovering the bridge of my nose, I hear it. The couch is calling my name.

I rush back down the stairs to my spot on “Couchy, The Magnificent,” melting into his warm embrace. It’s just me, a glass of wine, a pint of ice cream, and the most beautiful goddess staring back at me on my phone, thanks to the life changing experience that is snapchat filters.when mom gets time to herselfI’m home now. This is where I belong. 

This is me now.

And just as I’m admiring that twinkle in my own eye and the completely unattainable, buttery complexion, the thunderous roar of the garage door comes crashing through my moment, scaring the butterflies straight from my crown.

My family has returned. Somehow, some way, my time alone has come to a close. After 3 hours, 1 pint of ice cream, an unknown amount of wine, and becoming a fairy princess, I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. I haven’t completed one single task from my list. The only things I’ve hit hard are Ben & Jerry and the two new furry friends growing on my forehead, Mr. Fluffer and Harry McHairington.

I’m confused and disoriented, still sitting in the exact spot where my family left me. How could this happen? How much time has passed? Did I get knocked unconscious? How long have I been out? I swear it’s only been ten minutes, but my husband assures me it has been hours.

I pull myself off the couch, the kids already clinging to my ankles, as I make my way into the kitchen, trying to make sense of things. And there, I see it. The list, sitting there on the kitchen counter. Silly me, it wasn’t on my phone after all. I pick it up, scanning the long list of lofty goals, realizing I can’t cross off a single one.

I ask why? WHY ME? How could this happen, to ME? I don’t know who I am anymore.

I hang the list back up on the fridge.

As I begin dishing out crackers and filling milk cups, I find myself gazing longingly over my shoulder at that list, the one that mysteriously remains untouched, and wondering when I’ll get a chance again to start tackling it. Hours pass and I start to think about the list a little less, until eventually, I forget about it all together. And that’s when it comes back to me. I suddenly remember exactly who I am.

When no one’s looking, I sneak back into the kitchen, pull out a pen, and in big bold letters at the bottom of the list, I add…

“DREAM ON”

And then? I cross it off.

Because, that’s me alright, the dreamer. And today, I nailed it.
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